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Canon faces $5 million lawsuit over a printer that can't scan or fax when ink is low

(Image credit: Canon)

Known globally as one of the big players in imaging technology, Canon is now facing a class-action lawsuit as one of its all-in-one printers can’t scan anything when the printer has no ink. The lawsuit has been filed by David Leacraft at a US Federal Court in New York, and blames the company for misleading customers so they would buy more ink and boost Canon’s profits.

Despite the fact that you don’t need any ink to scan or fax documents, these features are allegedly disabled on the Canon Pixma MG6320 if the ink levels are not sufficient. While Canon boasts that it can print, scan, fax and copy, it never mentions that it’ll need to be topped up with ink to perform the latter three tasks. The lawsuit claims that the company is deceiving its customers by selling a printer that doesn’t do what it claims to, even though certain jobs don’t require ink. 

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By allegedly making it compulsory to buy the inks, it is claimed that Canon is unethically making profits from people who might’ve bought the printer purely for scanning and faxing documents and don't need the print features. Printer inks can be notoriously expensive, with a set of inks for the Pixma MG6320 setting you back $81.99 / £59.32 – which is a lot of money if you just want to scan something. 

According to Bleeping Computer, the claimant says, "There is no reason or technical basis for manufacturing the All-in-One Printers with an ink level detection function that causes the scanner to stop functioning when ink is low or empty. Canon designed the All-in-One Printers in such a way to require consumers to maintain ink in their devices regardless of whether they intend to print." 

Leacraft has accused Canon of deceptive marketing and unjust enrichment in the class-action complaint and is now seeking $5,000,000 in awards, not including interest, fees and litigation costs.

Unfortunately for Canon, Leacraft isn’t the first customer to complain about its all-in-one printers. Since 2016, unhappy customers have taken to the Canon Community USA forum to complain about other models including the Pixma MG5420 and the Pixma MX860, which are also said to be unable to print when the ink levels are low. 

Bleeping Computer contacted Canon USA about the lawsuit but has not received a response. While the issue may be infuriating for those involved, we’re not convinced that the lawsuit is deserving of a $5 million dollar settlement fee – after all, the printers themselves would’ve cost no more than £1000 for the most expensive one. 

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Hannah Rooke

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specialises in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylised product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.